Foreign

Covid19: Checkout first Country to Record Zero Case in a Day

For the first time since February 18, South Korea had a day with no new local COVID-19 diagnoses on Thursday, a result of an aggressive strategy for handling the outbreak which included mass rapid testing and comprehensive digitally-enabled contact tracing.

KEY FACTS

On Thursday, the Korean Centres for Disease Control reported zero new local COVID-19 cases, four imported cases and one death, bringing the country’s case total to 10,765 and deaths to 247.

South Korea is the only country with upwards of 10,000 cases to report a day with zero new local infections since coronavirus permeated its borders. 

In February, South Korea was believed to have the second largest outbreak of COVID-19 next to China.

South Korea has employed a comprehensive testing and contact tracing strategy that has enabled it to successfully curb the spread of coronavirus without a strict lockdown, according to the Guardian.

This is particularly notable as the country held its parliamentary election earlier in April with voters required to wear masks and gloves to cast ballots—showing that sanitary precautions can allow public life to continue without mass fatality.

CRITICAL QUOTE

“[South] Korea was able to successfully flatten the curve on COVID-19 in only 20 days without enforcing extreme draconian measures that restrict freedom and movement of people,” writes ministers of the South Korean government in their April 15 coronavirus playbook.

KEY BACKGROUND

South Korea has effectively flattened its curve without imposing strict stay-home measures of other countries by developing an aggressive and widespread strategy of testing and contact tracing. With free, 10-minute tests conducted in drive-thru and walk-in centers, the country of 51 million had tested over 270,000 people by mid-March, reports the Guardian.

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Further, utilizing GPS phone tracking, CCTV and credit card transaction monitoring, the country employs a comprehensive universal contact tracing strategy—automating alerts to people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 via text message. Officials say this system requires only 10-minutes per case. 

TANGENT

As of April 29, 2.7% of South Korean COVID-19 survivors retested positive for the virus, further complicating the issue of survivor immunity—which remains unclear. Now, South Korean officials are saying that the second-time positives are a result of “dead” virus components that remain in patients.

 

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